Meet Sherman Mack. Short. Nerdy. Amateur P.I. and prepared to do anything for Dini Trioli.
Nobody knows who began it or when it became a tradition, but every girl at Harewood Tech fears being D-listed, a ritual that wipes her off the social map forever. When Sherman believes Dini is in danger of being D-listed, he snatches up his surveillance gear and launches a full-scale investigation to uncover who is responsible.
Could it be the captain of the lacrosse team?
The hottest girls in school, the Trophy Wives?
Or maybe their boyfriends?
One thing is for sure: Sherman Mack is on the case. And he's not giving up.
Part comedy, part mystery, and with all of Juby's trademark tongue-in-cheek humor, Getting the Girl takes on one of the cruelest aspects of high school: how easy it is for an entire school to turn on someone, and how hard it can be to be the only one willing to fight back.
SUSAN JUBY is the author of the critically acclaimed Getting the Girl and Another Kind of Cowboy, as well as the bestselling Alice series (Alice, I Think; Miss Smithers; Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last) and her latest novel for adults, The Woefield Poultry Collective. After dropping out of fashion college and attaining a BA from the University of British Columbia, Susan went to work in the book industry. She holds a master’s degree in publishing. She currently lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, James, and their dog, who prefers to remain anonymous. Visit her online at susanjuby.com.
Read an Excerpt
Getting the Girl A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery
On the Bleachers
I was sitting on the old blue bleachers with Dini. It was just the two of us. Alone. Together. It's not hard to find Dini Trioli alone because she's got this well-developed deep and artistic side that causes her to spend a lot of time by herself. I was waiting for her to stop chewing so I could make my move.
We had a perfect view of the Goths who smoke down at the far edge of the athletics field. I figure the Goths using the edge of the sports field as their smoking area is probably some kind of statement on how they feel about school sports. I can dig that. A lot of people feel the same way. Take me, for example. I'm always picked third from last. Second to last is Bailey Farber, who has only one and a half legs. The guy usually picked last is my friend Rick, who has ultrasensitive pain receptors, which make sports difficult for him. Or so he says.
I've also heard that if you pay close attention, which I always do, you can sometimes spot one of the Defiled wandering back and forth like a ghost at the very edge of school property.
It's my second month at Harewood Technical. Before I came here I was worried about going into ninth grade. High school in general has a reputation for suckage and I had heard that this high school takes the popularity thing to a whole new level. See, at Harewood Technical you have your usuals...jocks, Trophy Wives, scholars...but there's also this whole other class of people called the Defiled. They aren't just unpopular...they are basically invisible.
Only girls get defiledat Harewood Tech and so most of the girls from my old school, Harmack Junior High, were freaking out before school started, which I can understand.
I first remember hearing about the defilings at Harewood Tech when I was in fifth grade, although no one knows who started defiling or how long it's been going on.
When a girl gets defiled, her picture, with a D written over it, is posted on the mirrors of all the student bathrooms. It's like an official notice that she's crossed the line of no social return. At first, people say terrible things about why the girl got defiled, like that she's nasty or skanky or a slut or whatever. After a day or so of that, people start to ignore her. Not in a not-noticing way, but more in an erasing way. No one will talk to her or even look at her except the teachers, and from what I heard, even they mostly avoid the Defiled.
No one knows who decides who is going to be defiled. Some people think the Defiler is one person, other people think defiling is the work of a shadowy committee. So far, though, defiling seems like one of those things that kids in elementary school make up to freak themselves out about high school.
It was tense at first, though. I mean, most eighth graders getting ready to move to high school worry about how hard the work will be and whether they'll have any friends, but the girls in my class were nervous about getting defiled. It made me feel bad for them, which is why I offered to give them all free back rubs on the last day of eighth grade and on our first day at Harewood. None of them took me up on my generosity, but I know they appreciated the way I'm always looking out for them. I'm pretty much always looking out for the ladies. I guess you could say I'm thoughtful.
It's been over a month now and everyone seems to have relaxed. None of the girls from my old school have been defiled and neither has anyone else, so I'm free to focus on my real interest, which is getting with older ladies, which brings me back to Dini, tenth-grade goddess. I think the whole defiling thing might have been exaggerated. It just doesn't seem like that big a deal. Well, it probably is for the defiled people, but I still haven't seen one of those yet. Other than that, the school seems okay.
Dini kept nibbling on her sandwich. I could see the little green alfalfa sprouts poking out from the sides of the whole-wheat bread. She seems like a very healthy eater, which explains her skin, which is awesome, even though she's older. I was having fries and gravy from the Pirate Chips truck that parks on the street near the school. My skin probably looked like I had been stowed away on a boat for six months without proper food, water, or sun.
Maybe I shouldn't have gotten the fries. Dini didn't say anything, but I bet they grossed her out. I should have known that the combination of trans fats and meat-based gravy would be a turnoff.
I noticed Dini right away on the first day of school. Last Tuesday at lunch I took a chance and offered to buy her a hamburger. It was the first time I spoke to her. She told me she doesn't eat anything with a face. Somewhere, back in the fogs of time, the gravy slopped all over these fries must have had a face. Sure, it was the face of a gravy packet or a large mother MSG. But it was still a face. Fries are not good will-you-go-out-with-me food.
I slid the fries to the side and hoped the wind would blow the smell away from her.
"Hey, so there's probably a dance coming up sometime this year."
Dini nodded, giving me wide eyes to make up for the fact that she couldn't answer because she was chewing. She chews nicely. With her mouth closed and everything. "I hate dances," I said.
Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery 4.6 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite YA novel. Susan Juby is brilliant at writing about serious subject matter with humor and grace.
More than 1 year ago
Read this book recently an i loved it so much it was awesome
More than 1 year ago
Sherman Mack likes sophomore Dini Trioli. He thinks he stands a chance with her; at least he thought he did, until uber-cool Lester Broadside moves in and shows an interest in her. Sherman gives up his dream of Dini until he thinks she's on a collision course of being D-listed. D- Listed = defiled. At Harewood Tech, there is an unspoken tradition of girls being D-listed. Simultaneously, pictures appear in the bathrooms and the photographed girl is marked as bad news, forever tainted and shunned at the school. With his precious Dini possibly marked, Sherman takes on the job of secret surveillance to uncover who is behind the defiling. Sherman enlists the aid of a ragtag group of friends. He is convinced Lester is behind the defiling, and seeks out girls who have been D-listed in the past. Everything comes to an unbelievable conclusion at a dinner party Sherman has to host at school. I LOVED Sherman Mack. He's the epitome of freshman geek-turned-cool-guy by the end of the story. I'm dating myself here, but I can picture a young Anthony Michael Hall (think Sixteen Candles) portraying Sherman in a movie version. Just picturing someone like that hiding in Ben's mother's closet with the Trophy Wives trying on clothes and shoes makes me laugh out loud even now. GETTING THE GIRL was originally published as a hardcover in 2008 but was re-released in paperback in 2010. Whichever version you pick up, be prepared for a fun romp of freshman boy detecting!
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
Getting the Girl, first and foremost, has a fantastic central character. He's a chivalrous, wannabe lady's man who will stop at nothing to defend a girl's honor. (Did I mention he's an aspiring chef?) However, despite his valiant efforts, he often finds himself in need of being rescued by the very females he tries to defend. As if the nerdy (and completely lovable) protagonist isn't enough to keep the reader's attention, the book is, at some points, laugh-out-loud funny, while it easily becomes serious, addressing the stupidity and effect of the social atmosphere of high school on girls and guys both. While it lacks the certain "edge-of-your-seat-excitement" many mystery novels have, it easily kept my attention and had me trying to figure out exactly who was responsible for the "defiling."
Although I thoroughly enjoyed Getting the Girl I was slightly disappointed with the solving of the mystery. By the time the novel comes to a close, the reader still doesn't have sufficient evidence to even begin to guess who is guilty. Instead, the main suspects have been ruled out.
While the eventual uncovering of the defiler is interesting and in no way compromised the overall attitude I have towards the book, I felt as though the book wasn't really a "mystery." Rather it was just a comedy of errors and feeble attempts at private investigation. (As a fair statement, I must nearly always find something I don't like in a book. Therefore, the fact that the only thing that stuck out was that it didn't really stay in keeping with the genre means something.)
All in all I had a great time reading Getting the Girl and I especially enjoyed Juby's witty humor. I would definitely recommend reading Getting the Girl and I can't wait to read more of Juby's work!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. - Seeing as I have an odd obsession with music, for every book I read I usually find a song that either reminds me of the book or that I just listened to frequently while I was reading it. I'd like to share them with you by putting them in my reviews. For Getting the Girl, the song was "The Great Beyond" by R.E.M. From now on I'll just put them right before my signature, listing title then artist.
This review was first written for the Not So Closet Geek review site: http://not-so-cg.blogspot.com
More than 1 year ago
Juby, S. (2008). G<span style="font-style:italic;">etting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery</span>. New York: HarperTeen.
Not to be confused with (My future husband) Markus Zusak's YA novel <span style="font-style:italic;">Getting the Girl</span> which focuses on the relationship between two Australian brothers, THIS <span style="font-style:italic;">Getting the Girl</span> is set in a school where girls are occasionally declared "defiled" and considered ghostly outcasts. Fearing that his crush may be the next girl to be defiled, ninth grader, Sherman Mack decides to investigate who does the defiling and why.
Humorous and well written, this mystery reminded me of the works of John Green (another would-be husband, but alas, he didn't wait for me and has already gotten married), but a little younger and a little lighter. The book includes quirky characters, many great lines and some social commentary.
One of the other things that I also like about this book is that not all of the characters are assumed to be middle class. Sherman doesn't know who his father is and his mom is a bartender interested in burlesque dancing (Quirky!) who got pregnant when she was sixteen.
Juby seemed to do a good job of writing from a boy's perspective. Of course, my ability to judge this is limited, what with not being a boy either. Most of Sherman's masculinity is expressed through being attracted to various female characters. Despite that, this book is begging to be examined in terms of the way gender is constructed.(particularly since girls are often considered potential victims).
While I think this book would be perfect for eighth or ninth graders, the length of the book (341 pages) could scare a lot of students that age away. But at the same time, not many eleventh or twelfth graders will want to read about a ninth grader. Plus a few secondary characters smoke pot, another character is a dealer.
Activities to do with the book:
Since the word defiled is used to describe the girls cast out of the high school social scene, a great project would be to research the significance of the word defiling among different cultures and ethnic groups. Who or what gets defiled in different societies and why? Does the fact that only girls had been 'defiled' previously at the start of the novel seem significant thinking both historically and in contemporary society?
(As a side note, I went to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary: the super-dictionary for super-nerds which considers word origin and shifts in meaning). Apparently, the word 'defile' has been around in English since the 1400s.)
Also, after reading this book and given the right context, maybe a teacher could provoke an honest conversation about school cliques in schools within literature circles. They can consider how socio-economic status influence the popularity and power of various characters.
This book could start a discussion on the theme of transgression in literature, since Sherman transgresses gender roles and social groups.
If a teacher ever examined mystery and detective novels with high school students, this novel could be paired with a Raymond Chandler novel, the movie Brick, or the TV show Veronica Mars, or other detective narrative.
For more reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
Getting the girl is one of my favorite books.the book bascilly leads you through a high school year. The parties,the girls,the boys,the kissing,sometimes the bedroom. Even through sherman gets his a** kicked tons of times he dosent give up,snd even through his best friend gets dini,it dont matter,he gots himself a new lust. And at the end,he figuee out he got eveything he wanted.
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